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February 9, 2018

After weeks of desperate attempts to boost their approval ratings, Gov. Walker and Speaker Vos announced a one-time $100 payment to families with dependent children to be delivered shortly before the 2018 elections. After doling out $28 million in tax breaks for 15 multi-millionaires and $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies to a foreign corporation, this doesn’t provide the long-term tax relief Wisconsin working families are asking for.

Given the Senate Republicans’ absence from this announcement, Democrats question whether this latest campaign gimmick will actually move through the legislature.

Next week the Joint Finance Committee is expected to vote on Gov. Walker’s special session bills that will severely impact struggling families and the Assembly will be in session on Tuesday.

Joint Finance Committee

The Joint Finance Committee was in session this week holding a Public Hearing and Executive Session to debate and vote on a number of bills that would have a fiscal impact on the state budget.

One of the more contentious bills that was up for debate was the $6.8 million ad campaign that  attempts to lure millennials that live in big Midwestern cities to move to the state by promoting outdoor activities and shorter commutes.

The ad campaign pushed by Republicans comes despite six years of their GOP agenda that has underfunded our public education system, deregulated natural resources and state parks, and has caused Wisconsin to have the 4th worst roads in the nation. This bill was passed out of the Joint Finance Committee without any Democratic support. 

What Democrats Are Saying

​ Democratic Proposals

LRB5164 Local Regulation of Certain Containers (Rep. Shankland, Sen. Miller) would eliminate the restrictions on the authority of a political subdivision to regulate auxiliary containers. Currently, a political subdivision may not 1) enact or enforce an ordinance regulating the use, disposition, or sale of auxiliary containers; 2) prohibit or restrict auxiliary containers; or 3) impose a fee, charge, or surcharge on auxiliary containers.

LRB4544 Local Minimum Wage Ordinances (Rep. Subeck, Sen. Hansen) would allow a city, village, town, or county to enact an ordinance establishing a minimum wage.

LRB4889 FMLA Ordinances (Rep. Subeck, Sen. Johnson) would allow a city, village, town, or county to enact an ordinance requiring an employer to provide an employee with leave from employment for certain family or medical reasons. 

LRB2581 Wisconsin State Treasurer (Sen. Vinehout) would transfer cash management, local government investment pool, unclaimed property program, college savings programs, and administrative services functions back to the Office of the State Treasurer.

LRB5263 Railroad Police (Sen. Vinehout) would eliminate the authority of railway companies to appoint and employ railroad police officers. This bill would also eliminate the authority of a railroad conductor to arrest passengers.

LRB5267 Railroad Open Records (Sen. Vinehout) would change to the Open Records Law to require railroads to make public the actions of their employees when acting in a law enforcement capacity.

LRB5262 Complaint Process (Sen. Vinehout) would provide a remedy for people who felt railroad “police” acted improperly. The bill would create a complaint system, similar to that in other states that authorize railroad “police.”

LRB5395 Local Transportation Collaboration (Sen. Vinehout) would restore the ability of counties and municipalities to contract with another county to perform highway improvement projects.

LRB5062 Reducing Late Fee for Towns General Transportation Aids (Sen. Vinehout) would change the penalty for towns to $100 per day if submitting late reports to Dept. of Transportation.

LRB4939 Crime Victims (Rep. Sarget, Sen. Johnson) would require the attorney general to notify law enforcement if during a background check the Dept. of Justice determines that the person who is attempting to purchase the handgun is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

LRB5382 Sparsity Aid for High Property Value Districts (Sen. Vinehout) would create a categorical aid for a school district that qualifies for sparsity aid under current law but that does not receive sparsity aid payments from the Department of Public Instruction because of high property valuation in the school district.

LRB5386 Rural Teachers Loan Forgiveness Bill (Sen. Vinehout) would create a rural teacher grant program, administered by the Higher Educational Aids Board, to encourage teachers to teach in rural schools.

LRB5387 Higher Ed Academic Scholarships for Rural Schools (Sen. Vinehout) would make changes in the way the Higher Educational Aids Board award academic excellence higher education scholarships to students in public or tribal high schools with between 20 and 79 students.

This Week in the Senate

Senate Session

The Senate did not hold a floor period this week. The entire floor session calendar can be found here.


Senate Committees

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee held a Public Hearing on one Assembly Bill and one Senate Bill:

  • Assembly Bill 384 would require the expiration of each chapter of the Wisconsin Administrative Code after nine years. Currently, rules promulgated by state agencies are permanent and remain in effect until they are subsequently modified or repealed by the agency. This bill would eliminate all of the Wisconsin Administrative Code once every nine years, unless the rule is readopted. A chapter could be readopted before the expiration date by the agency unless a member of the Joint Council for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) or a standing committee objects to the rule. The rule then can only be readopted if the agency uses the full, regular rulemaking process which could take many months. AB384 would create more red tape for state agencies than it would eliminate. The removal of key environmental, insurance and many other protections, would benefit special interest contributors, rather than Wisconsin business and families.

  • Senate Bill 745  would prohibit a court from according deference to agency interpretations of law; establish various requirements with respect to the adoption and use of guidance documents by agencies; provide that settlement agreements do not confer rule-making authority.


Senate Health and Human Services
The committee held a Public Hearing and Executive Session on twelve Senate Bills and Assembly companions:

  • Senate Bill 543 / Assembly Bill 653 would require a facility that performs mammography examination to provide a notice containing specific information about breast density to patients with dense breast tissue.

  • Senate Bill 673 would define “dental care” for the purpose of a legal custodian providing ordinary medical and dental care for a child.

  • Senate Bill 674 would allow a health care provider to disclose to an out-of-home care provider some of the information contained on the mental health treatment record for a child in their care.

  • Senate Bill 742 would require the Dept. of Health Services to create a program to reimburse hospitals for intensive care coordination services provided to Medical Assistance recipients.

  • Senate Bill 445 / Assembly Bill 538 would prohibit the transfer of an individual from a hospital's emergency department until a medical staff member determines the transfer is medically appropriate.

  • Senate Bill 232 / Assembly Bill 260 would provide that a licensed chiropractor who has a valid certification for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may conduct medical examinations.

  • Senate Bill 587 would provide that a drug containing dextromethorphan, may not be sold to a person who is under the age of 18 if that person does not have a prescription order for the drug.

  • Senate Bill 684 would allow physicians licensed in other states practicing at certain sporting events to practice in Wisconsin without having a license in this state.

  • Senate Bill 744 would allow a person who is licensed as a physician in another state to practice as a physician at a camp in this state for up to 20 working days.

  • Senate Bill 477 would allow a physician assistant or advanced practice nurse prescriber who is providing nonsurgical patient services to practice podiatry as directed, supervised, and inspected by a podiatrist.

  • Senate Bill 5 / Assembly Bill 29 would require that the 1,000 hours of clinical social work practice involving face-to-face client contact required to obtain a clinical social worker license.

  • Senate Bill 6 / Assembly Bill 30 would require the Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Examining Board to promulgate rules establishing examination requirements for certification and licensure by the board.


The committee also held an Executive Session on Senate Bill 84, which would allow terminally ill patients legal access to investigational drug and treatment options that are in the process of obtaining FDA approval, but are not yet available on pharmacy shelves. The committee also voted on the executive appointments of Dr. Scott Bautch, Dr. Bryan Gerondale, Juli McNeely and Dr. Jeffrey King to the Chiropractic Examining Board; Dr. Lee Lau and Dr. David Bryce to the Medical Examining Board; Pablo Sanchez, Gary Wolter, and John Litscher to the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority; Jennifer Eklof to the License Practical Nurse and Debra Beres to the Dentistry Examining Board. (Passed, 5-0)

Senate Revenue, Financial Institutions and Rural Issues
The committee held an Executive Session on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 467 would direct the Public Defender Board to establish a pilot program for student loan payment of attorneys who accept public defender appointments. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 617 would allow for optional electronic tax notifications, permit the state to recover all costs from a debtor related to garnishment action, impose the existing sales tax penalty if a company is over collecting after notice from DOR, allow truncated social security numbers on information returns provided to payees, and  increase the tax assessor exam cost. (Passed, 5-0)

 
The committee also held a Public Hearing and Executive Session on six more Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 203 would make several tax law changes, including the length of the recognition period for built-in gains tax; the standard of proof for income and franchise tax purposes; elimination of the Department of Revenue's obligation and authority to participate in the Multistate Tax Commission Audit Program; and elimination of the current law that allows a taxpayer to rely on past audits to avoid tax liability in later audits. (No Action Taken)

  • Senate Bill 501 would create a sales and use tax exemption for services provided by an electric cooperative to another electric cooperative for disaster relief work performed in conjunction with a declared state of emergency. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 507 / Assembly Bill 607 would allow a person to designate a Transfer of Death beneficiary in any document, not solely in a deed. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 686 would allow the Division of Banking and the Office of Credit Unions in the Department of Financial Institutions to disclose certain financial institution information to a Federal Home Loan Bank and to accept information collected by other agencies in conducting financial institution examinations. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 756 would allow a city, village, town, county or political subdivision to apply to the Public Service Commission for certification as a Telecommuter Forward!. Telecommuter Forward! is a certification program for communities to certify as being telecommuter friendly. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 764 would adopt certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that were adopted as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was enacted in December 2017. (No Action Taken)

 

Senate Transportation and Veterans Affairs 
The committee held an Executive Session on the executive appointments of Paul Chamberlain, Leigh Neville-Neil and Alan Richards to serve on the Board of Veterans Affairs. The committee will also vote on several Senate and Assembly Bills:

  • Senate Bill 415Assembly Bill 517 would allow an applicant for a motor vehicle operator's license or identification card issued by the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) to indicate whether he or she has a disability that may not be immediately apparent to another. Debate exists whether this will help police officers respond more appropriately to people with disabilities or if it will create further discrimination. Others argue it will not have an impact because negative experiences will likely happen prior to a person showing their identification. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 447 would direct the DOT to designate the bridge between the city of Superior and the city of Duluth in the state of Minnesota as the “Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge.” (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 598Assembly Bill 699 would designate and mark the bridge across the Oconto River in the city of Oconto as the "PFC Valentine T. Warrichaiet Memorial Bridge." (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 630 would allow the fee for a transfer of a vehicle’s certificate of title to be waived when a vehicle is transferred upon a person's death to his or her spouse. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 638 would eliminate a special vehicle weight provision that applies on portions of STH 13 in Ashland County and STH 70 in Vilas County and adds these highway routes for which the Department of Transportation may issue Michigan border permits. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 666 would require the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to administer a pilot program to provide outreach, mental health services, and support active and inactive veterans who have a mental health condition or substance abuse disorder. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 695 would allow a group of motor vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds that are travelling in a unified manner to follow each other closer than 500 feet.  (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 705 would change the procedures for denials and suspensions of certain drivers licenses issued to manufacturers, importers, distributors, or dealers. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 547 would make changes so that Dept. of Transportation and Human Service Vehicles operators may make Americans with Disabilities Act compliant accommodations by allowing passengers to stand if they possess a doctor's certification that they have a medical condition that prevents sitting. Currently, no person other than a personal care worker may stand while a human service vehicle is in motion. (Passed, 5-0)

 

The committee held a Public Hearing on Assembly Bill and two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 765 /Assembly Bill 716 would authorize a municipality to erect and maintain a municipality welcome sign within the right-of-way of any highway within the boundaries of the municipality.

  • Senate Bill 755 would require the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to treat certain veterans and their family members as residents for purposes of tuition.


Senate Workforce Development, Military Affairs and Senior Issues
The committee held an Executive Session on several Senate and Assembly Bills:

  • Senate Bill 514 would establish a number of requirements for certain state agencies to promote competitive integrated employment. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 461 / Assembly Bill 552 would expand the definition of members eligible to join Red Arrow Clubs. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 518 would address court jurisdiction for guardianship of adults and allows Wisconsin courts to communicate with other courts when a jurisdictional issue arises. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 527 would require the Dept. of Health Services (DHS) to award up to $500k in grants to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in rural and underserved urban areas. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 552 would allow an adult with a functional impairment to create a supported decision making agreement to allow another person, referred to as a "supporter," to assist the adult with certain decision-making. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 510 would allow the Dept. of Workforce Development to own, lease, manage, supervise, or operate businesses for the benefit of participants, with the goal of enabling persons with severe disabilities to operate their own businesses. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 682 would create a grant program where the Technical College System Board may award grants of up to $1,000 to students who are enrolled in apprenticeship training program in conjunction with their course of instruction at the technical college. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 689 would require the Board for People with Developmental Disabilities to develop a program to provide coaching for the hiring of individuals with disabilities. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 628 would allow a high school senior to begin an apprenticeship program during the student's senior year of high school. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 517 would require a law enforcement agency that has issued an alert for a missing adult at risk, commonly known as a “Silver Alert," to refer the person making the report and any guardian of the missing person to a local aging and disability resource center. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 644 / Assembly Bill 769 would make changes relating to the responsibilities of colleges to National Guard members and other service members who withdraw from school because they are called into active military service. (Passed, 5-0)


The committee also held a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 746 would create an incentive grant program for school districts that provide training for certain public safety occupations and provides completion awards for students who complete those programs.

  • Senate Bill 771 would require health insurance policies that cover prescription eye drops to cover refills of prescription eye drops.

 

Senate Committee on Education
The committee held a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 663, which would allow the Dept. of Children and Families to create a pilot grant program to award to organizations operating a four-year-old Kindergarten program for the purpose of expanding those programs.

 

The committee also held an Executive Session on several Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 711 would require the Office of Educational Opportunity to award grants to school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program to support dual enrollment programs taught in high schools. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 677 would change the funding structure for the Early College Credit Program. This program allows students in our state to take courses for credit at higher education institutions offered at drastically reduced prices. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 737 would waive the requirement for informed consent for outpatient mental health treatment of minors in emergency situations or where time and distance requirements preclude obtaining written consent. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 685 / Assembly Bill 477 would repeal the Dept. of Public Instruction administrative rule to administer a supplemental aid program for a school district having 500 or fewer pupils and that is at least 200 square miles and incorporates the repealed provisions into current law. (Passed, 7-0)

  • Senate Bill 655 would change various requirements for schools related to permanency hearings, foster care, and transfer of pupil records. (Passed, 7-0)

 

Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State Federal Relations
The committee held an Executive Session on two Senate Bills:

  • Special Senate Bill 5 would authorize the creation of a two-year statewide pilot program where 100 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) recipients must receive EITC payments monthly rather than as a single payment when they file their income tax returns. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Special Senate Bill 7 would authorize the Dept. of Administration to contract with a private service provider for payments to provide social, employment or correctional services to individuals. (Passed, 3-2)

 

Senate Sporting, Heritage, Mining and Forestry
The committee held an Executive Session on three Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Senate Bill 566 would require a person operating a bicycle or motor bicycle during hours of darkness on certain state trails designated by Dept. of Natural Resources to have a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 633 / Assembly Bill 711 would eliminate the requirement that a person hunting bear or wolf with a dog carry certain tags for the dog. It also provides that a dog is excused from wearing a collar with rabies vaccination tag if the dog is training to hunt. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 691 would create a procedure that law enforcement officers and courts must follow to close any portion of a sport shooting range due to an alleged unsafe condition on the premises. (Passed, 4-1)

 

Senate Judiciary and Public Safety
The committee held an Executive Session on seven Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 344 would prohibit a person who is under the age of 18 from being prosecuted for committing an act of prostitution. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 402 / Assembly Bill 496 would create two exceptions to the general requirement that a school board must suspend and expel a pupil if they possess a firearm at school. The first exception is for a firearm that is lawfully stored inside a locked vehicle on school property. The second exception applies to the possession of a firearm for an activity approved and authorized by the school board. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 538 would change the information that the Dept. of Justice must include in its report to the Dept. of Administration regarding restitution received by crime victims. (Passed, 4-0)

  • Senate Bill 652 would change the grounds for an involuntary termination of parental rights based on a child's continuing need of protection or services. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 654 would make changes to the appellate procedures applicable in proceedings related to the termination of parental rights. (Passed, 3-1)

  • Senate Bill 492 would create a procedure by which defendants in a criminal case may seek access to the mental health treatment records of crime victims when they believe those records contain information that is crucial to their defense. (Passed, 4-1)

  • Senate Bill 623 would subject a defendant to a domestic abuse surcharge if the defendant committed a domestic abuse crime to his or her current or former spouse. This bill would also increase maximum term of imprisonment if the person is a repeat offender. (Passed, 3-1)

 

The committee also held a Public Hearing on three Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill:

  • Assembly Bill 117 would allow a district attorney, deputy district attorney, or assistant district attorney to provide legal services to a person of limited means or to a charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organization if the attorney provides the services without fee and the services are not in conflict with the interests of the district attorney's county. 

  • Senate Bill 704 would expand the confidentiality provisions of the Safe at Home program to include any part of a program participant's actual address. In addition, the bill makes intentional disclosure of confidential information under the program a misdemeanor.

  • Senate Bill 549 would require public safety dispatchers to provide telephone assistance on administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The bill would also require the Dept. of Military Affairs to distribute grants for the purpose of training dispatchers to provide telephonic assistance on administering CPR.

  • Senate Bill 694 would make the threat to cause bodily harm to guardian ad litems, corporate counsels and attorneys a Class H felony.

 

Senate Universities and Technical Colleges
The committee held a Public Hearing and Executive Session on the appointment of Dr. Rodney Pasch to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board. The committee also voted on Senate Bill 444 / Assembly Bill 540, which would require technical college and licensed private driver school education courses to instruction in the recognition and prevention of human trafficking. (Passed, 5-0)

 

Senate Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government
The committee held a Public Hearing on five Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 512 would make a number of changes that affect first class city police and fire departments and the board of fire and police commissioners.

  • Senate Bill 627 would modify the criteria by which a newspaper may receive compensation for the publication of a legal notice.

  • Senate Bill 708 would provide an exception to the bidding requirement when an improvement is constructed by a private person and donated to the local governmental unit after the completion of construction. Currently, any public contract that has an estimated cost of $25,000 must be awarded to the lowest bidder.

  • Senate Bill 712 would authorize a municipality or county to enact an ordinance providing for the immobilization, towing, or impoundment of vehicles owned by habitual parking violators.

  • Senate Bill 760 would make updates to chapter 69 and related provisions to accommodate the use of electronic records. This bill was proposed at the request of Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association.


The committee also held an Executive Session on Senate Bill 769, which would appropriate $50,000,000 annually to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to be used on any economic development program WEDC is administering that assists economic development in a rural county. (Passed, 7-0)

 

Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection
The committee held an Executive Session on five bills:

  • Assembly Bill 303 would allow the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) to invest trust fund moneys in the acquisition of land and the construction, acquisition, improvement, and maintenance of buildings, structures, and facilities for the housing of state departments and agencies. Currently, BCPL has limited authority to invest trust fund moneys in land. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 700 would require the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to award merit-based annual $5,000 scholarships to students enrolled in two-year or four-year UW schools who have graduated from an in-state high school. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 450 would require companies that do business with the state to verify they are not participating in any boycotts of Israel as a condition of their contracts. Additionally, this bill would prohibit state agencies and local governments from establishing policies that would boycott Israel. (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 680 would repeal a provision created in 2015 Wisconsin Act 60 that requires Milwaukee County to transfer, unencumbered, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts to the Wisconsin Center District (WCD). (Passed, 5-0)

  • Senate Bill 709 would change the standard for “populous counties” provisions to counties having a population of 750,000 or more to ensure that any statutes intended to apply to only Milwaukee do not apply to Dane County. Currently, “populous counties” apply to counties having a population of over 500,000 and Dane County will soon exceed 500,000. (Passed, 5-0)

 

Senate Natural Resources and Energy

The committee held an Executive Session on Daniel Meyer to serve as the Secretary of the Dept. of Natural Resources. The committee also voted on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 600 would eliminate protections for over one million acres of wetlands in Wisconsin and could lead to increased flooding and compromise water quality. (Passed, 3-2)

  • Senate Bill 687 / Assembly Bill 812 would update the real estate disclosure report forms and changes the requirements for a report submitted to a client by a registered home inspector. (Passed, 5-0)

This Week in the Assembly

Assembly Session

The assembly did not hold a floor session this week. 


Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry
The committee held a public hearing on AB 911 which would provide $100,000 each fiscal year from the conservation fund for the Southeastern Wisconsin Fox River Commission and AB 686 which requires the Department of Natural Resources to administer a program to provide grants to cities, villages, towns, and counties for the testing of privately owned wells.


Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate
The committee held an executive session on AB 818, which makes various changes to condominium law and rights related to first mortgage security interests in condominium units.


The committee held a public hearing on AB 869 which creates a state tax credit program administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority that is similar to a federal low-income housing tax credit program also administered by WHEDA.

Assembly Committee on Workforce Development
The committee held an executive session on AB 819 which would require the Board for People with Developmental Disabilities to develop a program to provide coaching for the hiring of individuals with disabilities and AB 872, which creates an incentive grant program for school districts that provide training for certain public safety occupations.


The committee held a public hearing on AB 888 which requires the Department of Workforce Development to establish a ten-year program for making annual grants to individuals who were charged nonresident tuition by and completed an educational program, including an apprenticeship, at Wisconsin technical colleges or University of Wisconsin System universities or colleges. 

Assembly Committee on Transportation
The committee held an executive session on AB 555, which exempts motor vehicle emissions limitations motor vehicles of a model year not less than 10 years old. AB 651, which would allow passengers in a human services vehicle to stand if certain medical conditions require it. AB 824 which creates exceptions to following distance rules for platoons of trucks and AB 852 which changes the procedures for denials and suspensions and revocations of certain licenses issued to manufacturers, importers, distributors, or dealers of motor vehicles and AB 852 which changes the procedures for denials and suspensions and revocations of certain licenses issued to manufacturers, importers, distributors, or dealers of motor vehicles.


Assembly Committee on Public Benefit Reform
The committee held an executive session on Special Session AB 1, which requires the Department of Health Services to set required hours of participation in the FoodShare employment and training program. AB 2, requires the Department of Health Services to require all able-bodied adults to participate in the FoodShare employment and training program. AB 3, relates to asset restrictions on eligibility for FoodShare, Wisconsin Works, and Wisconsin Shares. AB 4, creates a heightened screening program for public housing and increases the burden for housing authorities. AB 5, which creates a pilot and permanent program for making periodic payments to eligible recipients of the earned income tax credit and making an appropriation. AB 6 requires payments based on performance for Wisconsin Works and FoodShare Employment and Training Program Contractors. AB 7 authorizes the Department of Administration to contract with a private service provider for payments to provide social, employment, or correctional services to individuals. AB 8, which requires Child Support Compliance in the Medical Assistance Program. AB 9, which requires the Department of Health Services to submit a waiver request to the federal government to establish and implement a savings account program in the Medical Assistance program and AB 10, which  requires the  Department of Health Services to prepare and submit a comprehensive implementation plan to the food and nutrition service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval to issue electronic benefit transfer identification cards containing a photo to recipients of assistance under the federal food stamp program. 


Assembly Committee on Agriculture
The committee held a public hearing on AB 827, which requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to make a grant to an organization that uses the grant funds to reimburse the costs of purchasing and installing rollover protective structures for farm tractors and AB 765, which provides additional funding for administration of the livestock premises registration program


Assembly Committee on Local Government
The committee held a public hearing on AB 836, which changes the standard in these “populous counties” provisions to counties having a population of 750,000 or more (currently only Milwaukee County). AB 713, which requires that a floodplain determination and floodplain zoning ordinance conform with a letter of map amendment issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. AB 898, which makes various changes to chapter 69 and related provisions to accommodate the use of electronic records. AB 882 authorizes a municipality or county to enact an ordinance providing for the immobilization or towing, impoundment, and disposal of vehicles owned by habitual parking violators and AB 748 which preempts local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances related to various employment matters.


Assembly Committee on Tourism
The committee will hold an executive session on AB 795, which authorizes the Mississippi River Parkway Commission to establish a technical committee to advise the commission and AB 668, which makes a change to rules promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources relating to the operation of vehicles on DNR properties.


Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage
The committee held an executive session on AB 878. Currently, the Mississippi River Parkway Commission is authorized to establish a technical committee to advice the commission the bill adds an employees of DATCP to the commission.

Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety
The committee held an executive session on AB 604, which requires that the Department of Justice publish an annual report on sexual assault offenses and domestic abuse cases reported in the state of Wisconsin. AB 666, which creates  a Class H felony to have sexual contact with an animal, to promote sexual contact with animals, to coerce another to have sexual contact with an animal, or to advertise, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain an animal for the purpose of having sexual contact with the animal. AB 697, which prohibits a person from operating on a highway any animal-drawn vehicle that is drawn by an animal wearing horseshoes that will injure the highway.  AB 823, which makes it a class F felony to enter a dwelling or certain other places with the intent to commit battery, regardless of whether the battery was a misdemeanor or felony battery. AB 855, which prohibits the operation of a drone in certain manners and prohibits a political subdivision from regulating the ownership or operation of a drone and AB 865, which makes certain changes to the address confidentiality program administered by the Department of Justice.

The committee held a public hearing on AB 873, which makes the laws regulating the intoxicated operation of different recreational vehicles more consistent and AB 874 establishes an absolute sobriety requirement for the purpose of operating a snowmobile for any person under the age of 21.

Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affair
The committee held a public hearing on AB 853, which requires the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to treat certain veterans and their family members as residents for purposes of tuition.

 

Assembly Committee on State Affairs
The committee held an executive session on AB 813 which bill repeals a provision created in 2015 Wisconsin Act 60 that requires Milwaukee County to transfer, unencumbered, the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts to the Wisconsin Center District (WCD).

The committee held a public hearing on AB 901, which allows two holders of wild turkey hunting authorizations for different season time periods in the spring to exchange those hunting authorizations by each applying to DNR to transfer his or her hunting authorization to the other.

Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate
The committee held an executive session on AB 869 which creates a state tax credit program administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority that is similar to a federal low-income housing tax credit program also administered by WHEDA.


Assembly Committee on Science and Technology
The committee held an executive session on AB 564, which expands the category of teams eligible to receive a grant to participate in a robotics competition to include teams containing pupils in grades 6, 7, and 8. 


Assembly Committee on Small Business Development
The committee held an executive session on AB 798, which allows a health care provider and an individual patient or employer to enter into a direct primary care agreement and requires the Department of Health Services to establish and implement a direct primary care program for Medical Assistance recipients.


Assembly Committee on Education
The committee held an executive session on AB5 69  requires the Department of Public Instruction to publish its annual school and school district accountability report by November 30, rather than in September and AB 830, which  creates an educational savings account program for gifted and talented pupils.

The committee held a public hearing on AB 851, which requires the Office of Educational Opportunity in the University of Wisconsin System to award grants to school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program to support dual enrollment programs taught in high schools.

Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform
The committee held a public hearing on AB 902, which exempts third party logistics providers from regulation as prescription drug wholesale distributors by the Pharmacy Examining Board. AB 903, which exempts third party logistics providers from regulation as prescription drug wholesale distributors by the Pharmacy Examining Board. AB 904, which makes changes regarding the following: 1) administration of the commercial building code; 2) county authority regarding certain buildings and safety requirements; 3) carbon monoxide detection in commercial residential buildings; 4) examination requirements for marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work credentials; and 5) the term of a social worker training certificate. AB 905, which makes numerous changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety that are administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services and AB 918, which eliminates the authority of local governments to regulate and license operators of taxicabs and taxicab businesses and instead requires that taxicab companies and taxicab dispatch services be licensed by the state.


Assembly Committee on Ways and Means
The committee held an executive session on AB 259 makes the following tax law changes: 1) changes the length of the recognition period for built-in gains tax; 2) changes the standard of proof a taxpayer must meet to establish that a transaction has economic substance for income and franchise tax purposes; 3) eliminates the Department of Revenue's obligation and authority to participate in the Multistate Tax Commission Audit Program; and 4) eliminates an exception to current law that allows a taxpayer to rely on past audits to avoid tax liability in later audits. and AB 822, which This bill allows the Division of Banking (division) and the Office of Credit Unions (OCU) in the Department of Financial Institutions to disclose certain financial institution information to a Federal Home Loan Bank.


The committee held a public hearing on AB 910, which adopts for state income and franchise tax purposes, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to individuals and were adopted as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was enacted in December 2017.

Assembly Committee on Insurance
The committee held an executive session on AB 876 requires health insurance policies, known in the bill as disability insurance policies, and self-insured governmental and school district health plans that cover prescription eye drops to cover refills of prescription eye drops. AB 877, which eliminates the medical malpractice insurance report, adds certain biographical information to the information that the commissioner of insurance may refuse to disclose to others and AB 884, which makes changes to the DOT safety preparedness plan.


Assembly Committee on Rules
The committee held an executive session on AB 876, which requires health insurance policies, known in the bill as disability insurance policies, and self-insured governmental and school district health plans that cover prescription eye drops to cover refills of prescription eye drops. AB 877, which eliminates the medical malpractice insurance report, adds certain biographical information to the information that the commissioner of insurance may refuse to disclose to others and AB 884, which makes changes to the DOT safety preparedness plan. 

Next Week in the Legislature

Senate Committees

Senate Labor and Regulatory Reform
The committee will hold a Public Hearing on two Senate Bills that could have severe impacts on workers in our state:

  • Senate Bill 665 would establish a medical fee schedule for health services provided through the workers compensation program in an effort to control medical costs. The proposed fee schedule would allow employers to reimburse medical providers using rates that approximate those paid by group health insurers. This bill was submitted by the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC). The council released a summary of provisions that it will include in its 2017 “agreed upon bill.”

  • Senate Bill 781 would prohibit an injured employee from filing a lawsuit against certain third parties, regardless of whether the employee makes a claim for compensation under the worker's compensation law against his or her employer. For example, if an injured employee of a temporary help agency engaged in work for the employer and is injured on the job, the employee may not take civil legal action against the employer to which the employee is placed or leased if the employee has the right to make a claim for compensation under the worker's compensation law.

 

The committee will also hold an Executive Session to vote on two Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 564 would provide that in the case that a public safety employee suffers a mental injury that arises out of his or her employment and results in a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, the employee is not required to show that the mental injury was caused by unusual stress of greater dimensions than the day-to-day emotional strain and tension experienced by similarly situated employees in order for the injury to be compensable under the worker's compensation law.

  • Senate Bill 745  would prohibit a court from according deference to agency interpretations of law; establish various requirements with respect to the adoption and use of guidance documents by agencies; provide that settlement agreements do not confer rule-making authority.

  

Senate Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations

The committee will hold a Public Hearing on six Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 784 would allow for the licensed dental therapist to engage in limited practice of dentistry.

  • Senate Bill 731 would require an applicant to score at least 375 on Part III of the examination administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and to score at least 375 on Part IV of that examination in order to be granted a chiropractor license.

  • Senate Bill 748 would make changes regarding the administration of the commercial building code; the county authority regarding certain buildings and safety requirements; the carbon monoxide detection in commercial residential buildings; the examination requirements for marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work credentials; and the term of a social worker training certificate.

  • Senate Bill 749 would make numerous changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety that are administered by the Dept. of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

  • Senate Bill 750 would exempt third party logistics providers from regulation as prescription drug wholesale distributors by the Pharmacy Examining Board.

  • Senate Bill 751 would make various changes to the laws governing the regulation of professions and buildings and safety: it would make technical changes in the nursing practice law, eliminate requirements that certain Cemetery Board filings be notarized; change the renewal date for physician assistants from March 1 of  each odd-numbered year to March 1 of each even-numbered year; require that a mining inspector employed by DSPS must have experience in underground mining or be a graduate of a recognized college with a degree of mining engineering.


The committee will also hold an Executive Session on two Senate Bills and seven Special Session Senate Bills:

  • Senate Bill 653 would allow for the continuity of foster care when the license of a child welfare agency or foster home is revoked, suspended, or surrendered.

  • Senate Bill 724 would make various changes to laws regarding funeral director apprentices.

  • Special Senate Bill 1 would allow the Dept. of Health Services (DHS) to set the required hours of participation in the FoodShare employment and training program (FSET) to coincide with the maximum allowable hours allowed by the federal government for able-bodied adults with and without children.

  • Special Senate Bill 2 would mandate DHS to require all able-bodied adults, including parents, to participate in the FoodShare employment and training program (FSET), except those who are caretakers of a child under the age of six and those who are at least half-time students.

  • Special Senate Bill 3 would change the financial eligibility requirements for W-2, Wisconsin Shares and FoodShare. This bill would establish that  individuals are not eligible for FoodShare if their family owns a home that is used as their primary residence that is valued at more than 200% of the statewide median home value ($321,200).

  • Special Senate Bill 4 would require the housing authority to issue to an able-bodied person who is either unemployed or underemployed, a questionnaire or other screening instrument concerning the abuse of controlled substances.

    • If the housing authority determines there is a reasonable suspicion that a resident is abusing a controlled substance, the housing authority must require the resident to undergo a drug test.

    • If the resident tests positive for the use of a controlled substance, the housing authority must offer the resident the opportunity to participate in substance abuse treatment.

  • Special Senate Bill 6 would require DHS to create and implement a payment system based on performance for entities that perform administrative functions for FSET.

  • Special Senate Bill 8 would prohibit able-bodied parents who refuse to cooperate in determining the paternity of a child, establishing or enforcing any child support order, from being eligible for Medical Assistance.

  • Special Senate Bill 9 would require DHS to submit a waiver request to the federal government to establish and implement a savings account in the Medical Assistance Program.

  • Special Senate Bill 10 would require DHS to submit an implementation plan to the federal government for approval to issue ID cards containing a photo for FoodShare recipients.

 
Assembly Committees

Assembly Committee on Mental Health
The committee will hold an executive session on AB 848 allows a treatment director to provide outpatient mental health treatment to children for 30 days without first obtaining informed consent in certain situations.


Assembly Committee on Science and Technology
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB 788, which generally prohibits a broadband Internet access service provider (“provider”) from using, disclosing, or permitting access to a customer's proprietary information unless the customer grants approval to the provider to use, disclose, or permit access to that information.


Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations
The committee will hold a public hearing on AB 879, which exempts pyrolysis and gasification facilities from certain laws relating to solid waste facilities.

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 To view updated committee notices, visit the legislative website and click on Committee Schedule: Wisconsin State Legislature.

 The State Capitol Update is provided by the Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses. For additional information, please send an email to WisconsinDemocrats@legis.wi.gov or call toll free: 1.800.385.3385.